Evolution Deleted

Thu Oct 7 05:39:22 CDT 1999

Ed Pirog said (07/Oct/99):

'I can't help but play Devils Advocate here. I am not a religious person by
any stretch of the imagination but it seems that we are looking at creationism
as something that could not possibly happen. Just fantasy.
        We might have the laws of probability on our side as far as evolution is
concerned as we understand it today but so far all the time I've spend trying
to get a slight grasp of the understanding of taxonomy I have yet to see a
concrete, reproducible experiment that can offer conclusive proof as to the
mechanism for the evolution of a species.
        My point is that it would seem that we need to step away a little to reduce
the tunnel vision that seems to be developing. I see this as only having an
adverse effect on the objectivity a true scientist is supposed to have. (No
this is not nieve. Just an attempt at the ideal.)


Ed,the problem here is that you seem to be confusing scientific method with some kind of
ultimate goal seeking or "...the ideal".  Without getting into the sub-debates on 
hypothesis testing there is, in fact, only one generalized, generally-accepted procedure 
(within the current paradigm) of: (1) Stating an hypothesis; (2) Testing; (3a) Accepting; 
or (3b) Rejecting; and, (4a) If (3a) then replacing a challenged hypothesis or creating 
new niche within the paradigm; or (4b) If (3b), moving on. 

Sorry, Ed, none of this will ever produce "...concrete, reproducible experiment that can 
offer CONCLUSIVE PROOF [emphasis added] as to the mechanism of the evolution of the 
species."   ...or anything else.  "Conclusive Proof" is: (a) In a courtroom a legal fiction to
allow civil society to have some rules to go by; (b) In general society, also called 'belief';
and, (c) In science, non-existent.  [Remember:  Even the 'rejected' hypothesis may some
day prevail due to new evidence, changes in technique, etc. and so even its rejection is 
not 'proof' that it does not stand as possibility.]  Thus, it is a cliche, but an accurate description
of methodology as we know it, that 'science' does not 'prove' anything.  [But, then, you 
implicitly acknowledged that by your homage to the 'laws of probability".]

The problem with trying to keep an open mind about creationism is that there are no testable
hypotheses.  It's just that simple.  'Belief' does not necessarily produce a testable hypothesis.
For example, 'the big bang' offers testable hypotheses; Genesis One does not.  [Indeed,
as Genesis One is geocentric (Genesis One, 14-19) it has to be rejected in light of (no pun
intended) the current testable hypotheses on the nature of matter in the universe.  And, if, 
for example, some testable hypothesis does demonstrate  that the universe is geocentric 
then we're going to have to go back to the drawing board on just about everything we 
know as 'science'.]

Ed, science classes should teach that which we can and cannot understand; not what we
believe or would like to believe.   I don't see how the 'method' which distinguishes science
from non-science in any way compromises the 'objectivity' you seek.  Objectivity is always
going to be a process and not an 'end' as implied in the 'ideal' you state you wish to seek.

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